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Finding & Organizing Digital Sources

In this module, you will consider how best to store and manage sources found online or created digitally that are important for your research.


  1. Increased understanding of the components of digital research and the requirements for maintaining it now and in the future.
  2. Ability to install and use a free, open-source bibliographic management tool (Zotero) for creating libraries and bibliographies.
  3. Improved search techniques, including image-based searches.


Questions to Consider

  • In response to Baker’s piece, how do you currently manage your digital research? Can you still access notes and data you gathered and took from twenty years ago? Ten? Five?
  • How relevant is the Rosenzweig piece, which was published thirteen years ago? How have your research practices changed as the formats of sources and data have changed?
  • Considering both readings, have you considered your role as a scholar in preserving and maintaining data not only for your own work, but for other scholars and researchers? How have these changes affected your approach to teaching?


Resources for data and sources:

Resources for searching and preserving digital sources and files:


Activity 1. Install and try bibliographic and research management tool, Zotero:

Activity 2. Reverse image searching with TinEye: https://labs.ssrc.org/dds/articles/tineye-tutorial/

Activity 3. Do a scavenger hunt for digital sources and save them in Zotero: https://labs.ssrc.org/dds/articles/scavenger-hunt/

Activity 4. Create a bibliography using Zotero in the citation style appropriate for your field: https://www.zotero.org/support/creating_bibliographies

Use the scavenger hunt sources, or items from one of the new collections you created in Activity 1.

Activity 5. Make your new WordPress site Zotero-readable: https://labs.ssrc.org/dds/articles/install-scholarpress-coins/

Add the ScholarPress COinS plugin to make your new site readable by other Zotero users.

Ready to start your research on a specific project? Here is a good first step.

Project Lens

Take a look at how historian W. Caleb McDaniel is publicly tracking and discussing his research in “Open Notebook History”: http://wcm1.web.rice.edu/open-notebook-history.html. Consider how McDaniel is working in this context. Be sure to visit his Wiki:  http://wiki.wcaleb.rice.edu/.

Notice the ways he is time-stamping his ideas, his progress, and his intellectual work.

  • How does this contrast with the way you are currently researching, writing, and/or developing ideas and prose?
  • What do you think of McDaniel’s intentions to work so openly in public?
  • Are there drawbacks to working in such a public way? What are the advantages?
Updated on August 1, 2018

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